LANCASTER, Pa. - A second-half offensive onslaught from Franklin & Marshall's men's soccer team led to a dominant 4-1 victory over Stockton on Sunday afternoon at Tylus Field.
The non-conference win improved the Diplomats' record to a perfect 4-0 in 2018, while the Ospreys fell to 2-3.
F&M needed just 2:34 of game action to get on the scoreboard as a high press by the Diplomat defense was rewarded when A.J. Kopacz stole the ball deep in Stockton's defensive third and chipped it into the back of the net for the 1-0 advantage. The tally was the first-year defender's third goal of his early career.
Alex Lalovic nearly tacked on for the Diplomats in the 34th minute when a long Ryan Fincher cross was fired in on net by the sophomore forward, but the attempt slammed off the crossbar and out of play.
Stockton led the shot count after the first half by a narrow 5-3 margin but struggled to generate quality scoring chances due to F&M's suffocating defense. Corners belonged to the Diplomats heading into the break at 5-0.
A foul on the far-right side in the Diplomats' defensive third, led to the Osprey's best scoring chance of the game in the 47th minute. Stockton capitalized with a well-placed free kick that was hooked into the box, went off of the head of Villy Fortulus and into the bottom left of the goal to knot the score at 1-1.
The second half belonged to the Diplomats as F&M took the lead for good with a Connor Whitacre tally in the 61st. Jim Connolly spearheaded the play with a rolling corner kick pass to the top of the box. Whitacre collected the ball and fired a shot into the lower-left corner to put the Diplomats ahead by one.
F&M added to its lead in the 71st minute with a flurry of shots in the 18-yard box. Alex Bilodeau's initial attempt was turned back, but Ryan Corr was there for the rebound shot that found a home in the upper-right corner of the net.
The game's overall shot count belonged to Stockton at 13-10, but corners heavily favored the Diplomats at 6-1. Whitacre led the way for F&M with two shots, both of which were on goal.
Sebastian Jenkins (2-0) earned the win in net with a three-save performance in 90 minutes of action. His counterpart, Dino Gromitsaris was charged with the loss after surrendering four goals in 79:53 of competition.
F&M continues non-conference play on Wednesday, traveling to Elizabethtown for the annual Battle of the Boot game at 7:30 p.m.